Principal’s Address 9th August 20199th Aug 2019
Kia Ora Tatou
This week it is very sad to start this newsletter with the news that Judith Maslin passed away on Saturday morning following a period of illness. Judith had been employed at South Otago High School for 29 years, starting initially as the Science Lab Technician and then taking on the role of Food Technology Technician and also preparing morning tea for the staff. Judith was a conscientious and methodical worker who quietly and efficiently went about her duties.
Judith was a very private person and had been unwell for some time. She had taken leave from the end of last term and it was at that time that I became aware of how serious her health issues were. Judith will be greatly missed by the staff.
Recently a report on school attendance was released and it has described attendance as:
- Regular attendance, students attending school for more than 90% of available half-days.
- Irregular absence, students attending between 81% and 90% of available half-days
- Moderate absence, students attending between 71% and 80% of available half-days.
- Chronic absence, students attending school 70%, or less, of available half-days.
The report shows that in 2018, nationally, regular attendance stabilised at 63.8% of students, following declines seen in the two previous surveys; 67.2% in 2016 and 63.0% in 2017.
At South Otago High School we have seen the reverse of this trend of decline and since 2016 we have had an improvement in school attendance. The school endeavours to support families who are having difficulties with students attending school but this is a partnership where school and home need to work together.
Encouraging students who have irregular absence to lift their attendance by up to five half days could see regular attendance in Term 3 rise up to 75% of students.
I realise that after writing about school attendance that closing the school may appear contradictory! As you will be aware, the school was forced to close on Monday due to the snow. Over the last few years we have developed a system to enable us to send out a text message to parents about delayed starts, closures and other important messages. Unfortunately, on Monday, we had some issues sending the message out early. I apologise for the delay getting the message out in good time and we have worked to correct this issue for the future.
This annual event was well supported by students. This year we combined to provide cans of food as payment for students in mufti. It was good to see so many students contributing towards this worthy cause and support those who are less fortunate. Thank you to all the parents and whanau who supported this event by preparing food from different nations.
Visit by Whitgift School, UK
This week South Otago High School hosted two teams from Whitgift School in the UK. Thank you to the parents and families who hosted our guests in their own homes. I understand that the hospitality was greatly appreciated. It was good to see our students play their games of rugby and we appreciate being included in the Whitgift rugby tour. We were the last stop on their tour before their final two days in Queenstown and their return to London on Sunday morning.
As part of our school culture we welcomed the students and staff with a Powhiri which was organised and lead by students, Steve Te Moana Currie and Keely Hill. The teachers spoke afterwards and said that South Otago high school was the only school on ther tour of New Zealand to welcome them in this way. Our students who were part of the powhiri should feel proud of their efforts.
Recognition of service
Mr Douglas is to be acknowledged for his service to the Young Enterprise Scheme at an event in October. He has worked with YES for 39 years and during that time supported and encouraged students to set up and run small business enterprises. This is a great achievement and we applaud him for his great service to our young people.
Shape Your Future Evening
Next Wednesday we will be hosting our second Pathways to Employment evening at the school from 6:30 to 8:30pm. This is a great opportunity for students, parents and whanau to meet local employers and hear about the skills and qualifications employers are looking for. Currently we have representatives from 13 local employers covering a broad range of industries. The last event we hosted was well attended and appreciated by both parents and students. This is highly recommended for Y10 to Y13 students but everyone is welcome.
Last Friday we hosted our first breakfast club for students who want to drop in and have Weetbix and a chat. This will be running every Friday for the foreseeable future.
This is free of charge and is a new initiative to provide a healthy snack before school. We appreciate the support provided by the Student Council who manage this for the school.
Ka kite ano
Mr Mike Wright – Principal